By James Samson - January 8, 2022
A bombshell study out of South Africa, which is currently the epicenter of the world’s omicron surge, has indicated that the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic may be ending.
Bloomberg reported that a study of patients infected with COVID-19 at a large hospital in the South African city where the first outbreak of the omicron variant was discovered found that while this variant moved at an “unprecedented speed,” it caused much milder illness than earlier strains.
“If this pattern continues and is repeated globally, we are likely to see a complete decoupling of case and death rates,” the researchers said, adding that this suggests “omicron may be a harbinger of the end of the epidemic phase of the Covid pandemic, ushering in its endemic phase.”
The study was carried out at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital Complex, and it looked at 466 patients from the current wave and 3,976 from previous bouts of infection. One of the researchers who worked on the study was Fareed Abdullah, a director at the council and an infectious disease doctor at the hospital.
Since South Africa is the first country to have a major omicron outbreak, it is being closely watched to see how this variant develops. Researchers have warned the comparatively young age of the country’s population and those hospitalized could mask how severe the disease caused by the variant really is, however.